BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – A fire roared through a crowded Buenos Aires nightclub during a rock concert, killing at least 88 people and injuring more than 265 as young concertgoers scrambled for the exits, officials said today.
The blaze broke out late Thursday and the building quickly filled with smoke, setting off a stampede for the emergency exits, witnesses said. An Argentine rock band was playing.
“People were pushing and jumping over each other trying to get out,” one concertgoer, Jose Maria Godoy, told the Associated Press. “It was like a human wave. As people fell down running for the door, others just simply ran over them or pushed them down.”
Television images showed the bodies of some youngsters curled up on the sidewalk as bystanders and concertgoers carried people out of the smoldering building.
Hundreds of bystanders and relatives stood outside the building as rescue workers carried some of the wounded away on stretchers. Others could be seen treating the injured on the street in front of the Republica de la Crogmanon disco in the Argentine capital, which is popular with teenagers.
Buenos Aires Mayor Anibal Ibarra told reporters it wasn’t immediately clear what caused the fire.
An unidentified youngster told the TodoNoticias television network that the heavy smoke quickly filled up the concert hall.
“We could barely see there was so much smoke,” he said.
“People were kicking the doors down trying to get out.”
Argentine media reported as many 1,500 people were believed to have been in the building at the time, with some saying the number could be almost twice as many.